Afghanistan — Two Australian Soldiers Killed in Action by Improvised Device

Two Aus­tralian sol­diers serv­ing with the 1st Men­tor­ing Task Force in Afghanistan have been killed in action when they were struck by an impro­vised explo­sive device (IED).

Pri­vate Tomas Dale, 21 and Pri­vate Grant Kir­by, 35, were killed in action when they were struck by an IED. Both of their fam­i­lies have been noti­fied and they have agreed to the release of names. 

Two oth­er Aus­tralian sol­diers were wound­ed in action in the explo­sion. Their wounds are not life threat­en­ing and the sol­diers have con­tact­ed their families. 

All of the sol­diers involved in the inci­dent are from the Bris­bane based 6th Bat­tal­ion of the Roy­al Aus­tralian Regiment. 

The Act­ing Chief of the Defence Force, Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al David Hur­ley said the inci­dent occurred dur­ing a joint counter IED oper­a­tion with sol­diers form the Afghan Nation­al Army. Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Hur­ley said the sol­diers were mov­ing to an obser­va­tion posi­tion in the Baluchi Val­ley to cov­er the oper­a­tion when, at approx­i­mate­ly 10.30 yes­ter­day morn­ing (Afghanistan time, Fri­day, 20 August), they struck an IED

The two sol­diers had dis­mount­ed from their Bush­mas­ter Pro­tect­ed Mobil­i­ty Vehi­cle when they were struck by the explo­sive device. It is not known what trig­gered the device. 

The wound­ed sol­diers received imme­di­ate first aid at the scene and were aero-med­ical­ly evac­u­at­ed to the ISAF med­ical hos­pi­tal at Tarin Kot. 

The two deceased sol­diers were also trans­ferred to the mil­i­tary hospital. 

Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Hur­ley said this was the sec­ond inci­dent in a week involv­ing the deaths of Aus­tralian soldiers. 

“The death of Pri­vates Dale and Kir­by so soon after the recent death of Troop­er Jason Brown is a trag­ic reminder of the dan­ger­ous and coura­geous work Aus­tralian Defence per­son­nel under­take every day. 

“Twen­ty Aus­tralian sol­diers have died in Afghanistan, yet despite their loss, their com­rades remain very com­mit­ted to our mis­sion and to hon­our­ing the sac­ri­fice of their fall­en mates.” 

The Act­ing Chief of the Defence Force also extend­ed the deep­est sym­pa­thies of Air Chief Mar­shal Angus Hous­ton and the Defence com­mu­ni­ty to the fam­i­lies of the two soldiers. 

“Each and every inci­dent like this is felt very deeply through­out the Defence fam­i­ly and par­tic­u­lar­ly the Army. Pri­vates Dale and Kir­by, and their com­rades who have also died in Afghanistan, have served their nation proud­ly,” Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Hur­ley said. 

The sol­diers’ fam­i­lies have asked for pri­va­cy at this time. 

20 Aus­tralian sol­diers have been killed in action since oper­a­tions in Afghanistan began with 147 sol­diers wound­ed as a result of combat. 

Media con­tact:
Defence Media Liai­son: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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